Sometimes it?s just a small act of kindness that plants a seed of hope. A seed that can grow and blossom and could eventually even help to make big changes in a person?s life. It?s with that in mind that today, I?m launching a project that has been germinating for some time now: the Sowing Kindness Project.
I started Garden Therapy as a way to build a community around a hobby that I love, gardening. My hope was that I would find others out there who love gardening as much as I do, and whose lives it has impacted as much as it has mine. Now, many years later, we have a large community of readers, contributors, authors, and friends who come together to celebrate better living through plants. And it seems that now more shipping returns than ever the world needs us to spread a little of that joy to others.
Often the time when these seeds are planted is in childhood. Parents, grandparents, siblings, and friends help shape who we become through their guidance and love. I didn?t have the family support that I needed as a child, but throughout my life there were people who, through a series of small gestures of kindness, helped me more than they can ever know. A kind word from a teacher when I wasn?t used to hearing them. A welcoming hug when I was abandoned. A bag of groceries when I was hungry and unable to afford food. A roof over my head when I didn?t have one. These small things took root and changed me for the better.
All those years ago, that kindness planted a seed. And those seeds shaped who I am today. It?s a big part of why I volunteer as a Master Gardener to teach children gardening. If even just a little bit of what I teach them plants a seed of hope, I feel like I?m passing on the gifts that were passed on to me.
The Sowing Kindness Project
This year I was happy to open the as a way to continue to deliver our shared passion for creativity and gardening. Between January and April, I added eight lovingly created , each one with a unique gardening theme and a DIY element. These are great kits for starting a garden, to give as gifts, and to give the gift of garden therapy to yourself.
Now that all of the collections have been launched, has generously offered to give one of each kit in the to someone who could use seeds of kindness in their life. I will be running a giveaway for each kit over the remaining months of 2018. Plus, I will also be donating 10% of the sales from to a different cause that supports gardening each month. This is my way of sowing kindness and helping others discover the power of gardening.
This month we?re going to kick it off with where we all begin?as kids! We will be giving away one of the which includes:
- Aunt Molly?s Ground Cherries (Physalis spp.) seeds
- Lil Pump-Ke-Mon Pumpkin (Cucurbita spp.) seeds
- Baby Bottle Gourd (Lagenaria siceraria) seeds
- Dragon Tongue Bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) seeds
- Candyland Red Tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum) seeds
- Candy Cane Red Pepper (Capsicum annuum) seeds
- Parisian Carrot (Daucus carota subsp. sativus) seeds
- Cucamelon (Melothria scabra) seeds
- Kids? garden tool set and carry bag with a trowel, mini rake, hand fork, and watering can
What Can You Do?
- Nominate someone to get the Kids? Garden Kit. Do you know of a young gardener who would love to grow some fun vegetables this year? Or perhaps a struggling parent who could use a fun activity to do with their kids this summer? Maybe there?s a school program that?s looking for plant donations? Or a church, after-school, or preschool group that would enjoy learning to grow their own food? Let me know who they are in the comments section of this post and on June 15 I?ll pick someone randomly to send the kit to.
- Give yourself or someone else an eBook from the . 10% from the sale of every eBook from today until June 15th, 2018, will be going to the fund. This is a wonderful program that supports teaching, learning, and research that unites elders, younger adults, and school children in learning with and caring for the Earth. Participants grow, tend, cook, and share food at UBC Farm and explore the connections among human and non-human communities, places, and local environments. This program is at risk of shutting down after 15 successful years and I hope we can help!
- Spread the word! The more people who care about the sowing kindness project, the more good we?ll be able to do. So please spread the word by sharing this project on social media, with your gardening club, or with your friends and family.
- Be kind. More than anything else, think about how you can sow kindness everyday. From letting someone in traffic, to saying ?hello? to a stranger, to offering a compliment to a friend. You never know how these little gestures will grow. Who knows? Spreading kindness may end up growing like wildflowers in your neighborhood!
Leave a comment by June 15th, 2018, nominating whoever you think could use some kindness. It can be a person, a group, or yourself. I fully support the idea of nominating yourself if you could use some love. That takes a lot of strength to do!
The winner will be randomly chosen and contacted by email. Only leave a comment if you are aware of and agree to our Privacy and Cookies Policy . This contest is open to residents of the continental US and Canada, except Quebec and where prohibited. This contest is now closed. Congratulations to our winner, Connie!
More from the Sowing Kindness Project:
Most vegetable gardens are filled with annual vegetables that are started from seed or seedlings each and every year. After harvest, the soil is turned and the whole process begins again the next year. Why not add a few perennial crops to the mix? Planting perennial veggies means you can enjoy their yield year after year without replanting, and because perennials often produce at different times than annuals, having both in the garden extends the harvest.
Asparagus crowns need a few years to become productive after initial planting, but it is worth the wait as asparagus will keep coming back for up to thirty years. Weed frequently and give asparagus its own bed without any other vegetables growing in it, because it gets choked by other plants easily. Harvest spears by snapping them off at the bottom when they reach five to seven inches tall.
Although lovage looks more like celery, it is a member of the carrot family. Every part of this plant can be eaten. The leaves make a tasty herb (try it in place of parsley), the root can be cooked and eaten as a vegetable, and you can use the stems as you would celery. Just a little lovage goes a long way; it?s both flavorful and prolific. You will only need to plant one in your garden.
Plant rhubarb in your garden and you will be rewarded with a ton of scrumptious pies, muffins, compotes, and crumbles (or how about delicious ?). Rhubarb requires almost no attention once it?s planted and will come back year after year. It will produce more edible stems if you remove the flowers as they appear, so be vigilant and pluck the blossoms.
To promote growth, do not pick all of the stalks at once. Harvest up to one-third of the plant at a time by twisting and snapping the stems off at their base.
Artichokes are beautiful and decorative in the garden. Plus, they produce for up to five years. Give them plenty of space when planting them because they can get very large when they mature ? up to four feet tall and four feet wide. Harvest artichokes when they feel firm and have a diameter of at least three inches. Store the harvest in the fridge and eat them within two weeks.
Artichokes you do not harvest will open and produce stunning purple flowers. To overwinter artichokes, cut back the plants and cover with thick mulch.
Sunchokes, also known as Jerusalem artichokes, have an edible tuber that tastes like a water chestnut crossed with an artichoke. They grow five to ten feet tall and, while a wonderful vegetable to have on hand, they can be invasive?make sure to give sunchokes their own bed or they will take over the whole garden.
Remove flowers as they develop to promote tuber production. Tubers keep up to 5 months stored in a moist, cool place.